Online business is the most accessible gateway to become an entrepreneur and make money without any significant investments. Setting up a business online may not require a substantial investment or a vast workforce.
But one thing is the most essential part of starting is the IDEA.
Not having an idea and setting an unattainable goal is one of the common issues that lead to business failure. You can only set attainable goals when you know ‘how’ to do it.
Keeping all these issues in mind, I have made a comprehensive guide containing some of the best online business ideas along with the ways of how to start them.
I am mentioning the list of some of the profitable ideas for businesses to start online. If you find any business idea exciting or you think you have expertise in that particular field, then feel free to jump into that portion.
So, here is the list of the top 15 online business ideas to start in 2021.
So, without a further, let’s look into these 15 legitimate online business ideas, you can start quickly in 2021.
1. Start a Dropshipping/Ecommerce Store
Dropshipping business is one of our top priorities online business to earn huge returns in a shorter time with minimal investment.
If you are entirely unaware of what is dropshipping than here is a brief definition,
Dropshipping is an ecommerce business model and retail fulfillment process where the seller (you) does not keep any products. The seller only displays the product in-store, whenever buyer purchases a product the seller source the product from a third party supplier and shipped directly to the buyer.
The customer pays the seller, and the seller pays the supplier.
It is one of the easiest methods to jump into the bandwagon of online selling business. To start a dropshipping business, you need the following things,
- An ecommerce platform to set up an online shop (Shopify Recommend)
- A supplier to source product
- Marketing and advertisement (Facebook and Instagram)
How to Start
• Get a reliable supplier or manufacturer to the source. Here are some sites to find a dropshipping supplier
• Run Facebook ads to find the most relevant audience to sell products instantly. (Learn How to run Facebook Ads)
• Receive the orders and redirected them to your suppliers.
• Pay your suppliers and receive the payment from your customer.
How to Earn
Get the rate from your supplier and list the product on your online at 5x – 10x price. Make sure to find the products in a range of $5 – $40.
-> You get the product from Aliexpress for $5.
-> List them for $12.
-> You earn $7.
2. Open Up a Print on Demand Online Store
Print on demand is another kind of dropshipping business and one of the easiest ways of starting an online business.
Print on demand services allows you to sell their white label products (t-shirts, mugs, bags, etc.) by putting your Design on them and sell them in your store under your brand on a pre-order basis.
You just need to create a mockup design and list the products on your Shopify store. Once a buyer purchases a product, print on demand service will take care of everything. It will print the Design on the product and ship it to your customer.
The best part is you do not need to pay a single penny to these print on demand services before sales. Consider them as your product suppliers.
After the sales, you just need to pay the base price of the product, and the rest will be your profit.
How to Start
• Find a niche – You need to stick to a niche so that you could attract the audience with the Design of their interest.
• Get Design Ideas – Generate ideas to print on different products. For that, you can check Pinterest and find different quotes or creative posters. (Learn 3 Proven Methods to Design Your Print on Demand Products)
Let’s say I want to target software engineers and developers, so I just write “coding funny” on Pinterest and get hundreds of creative ideas to print on different products.
• Create the Design or find a designer – To start a professional print on demand business, I would recommend you consult a designer because you would need different dimension designs for various products. However, you can still create a design yourself by using Canva.
• Get a Shopify store ($29/month) – Setup your online store.
Select a Print on Demand service – There are multiple POD companies that source your product, here are some of the top print on demand service to integrate into your Shopify store.
• Integrate POD service to your Shopify store – You can easily integrate a print on demand service by adding it from the Shopify App store.
How will you earn?
For its services, these POD sites charge a base price for the product and fulfillment services.
(Base price) – (Retail price) = Profits
So, you need to list the product for a price in which you can earn profits.
3. Start a Niche Website – Earn from Affiliate and Google AdSense
Starting a niche website is one of the best ways to earn passive income for years. Multiple examples are out there who are still making money from sites, which they have not opened for years.
But why a niche website?
I could have recommended you start a blogging site and start earning by monetizing it from Google Adsense, however it would take you forever to get rank on relevant keywords and monetize.
When you target a specific niche, then it becomes much easier to get relevant traffic without much competition.
In a niche site, you must be helping people who are finding an answer to a particular question. For your understanding, I went through a case study that I would like to share.
The website Camper Report was started when its owner purchases an RV and build a blogging website around his experience. This site only writes content for the people who own an RV (that’s a super precise niche). With just 75 blogs post, Camperforce made $10,000 per month.
They majorly earn from Amazon Affiliate Program and advertisements.
Well, in niche sites you can earn from affiliate commission or advertisement that are one of the most comprehensive ways to earn.
How to start a Niche Website?
• Choose a particular topic (even better if you passionate about that) something like German Shepherd dogs – Not just pet dogs. This type of sub-niches would help you to avoid competition and increase your relevancy. (Learn: Find a Profitable Niche in 9 Steps)
• Shortlist topics to answer a specific query. Do not go for too broad issues with the new domain. Google can help you a lot in finding clear-cut issues. Here is how,
Let’s say I start a male grooming website and want to write on “Beard Oil.”
Topic: Top 10 Best Beard Oils?….NO WAY!
It would take you forever to rank higher on Google with this topic. Instead, try to find out a more specific query. Go to Google and type your topic and add a random alphabet, Like here I wrote bread oil and added “a”
Tada! I found a great topic beard oil alternatives, which is somewhat less competitive, and I could easily find a product to promote and earn an affiliate commission on them.
If you have a budget, then I would highly recommend getting Ahrefs for content research and get better topic ideas.
• Search for a product to promote on your website and earn a commission. Amazon Associates and Aliexpress Affiliate Programs are absolutely free to sign up to become their affiliate marketer partners.
Other platforms to find affiliate products or services,
Make sure to plan the ideas of monetization before starting a niche website. If you could find suitable products or services to promote on your website, then you could run an ad on your website for monetization.
In case you could not find an affiliate product within your niche, then you can still earn from advertisements by creating a Google Adsense account.
Check out this success of the story of earning $7504/month from a niche site.
4. Instagram Account Flipping
Yes, this is an online business and a profitable one.
What is the Flipping Instagram account business?
Buy or create an Instagram account, optimize the account for some months, increase the followers, and sell it for higher prices. To get started with this online business idea, you need some smart working, automation, and knowledge of the topic of your Instagram page.
How to Start Instagram Flipping Business
• Choose a category. You’d better choose a category in which you have some prior knowledge such as Pet animal, Comic books, etc. It is massively significant for you to know what your audience would prefer to see.
• Create an Instagram page. Add at least 15 relevant posts within 15 days (post/day).
• Use the Automation tool to follow and unfollow relevant people. (Learn how to automate your Instagram account and gain fast followers.
• Grow your Instagram page up to 10k followers. If you follow the guide mention in the above line, then it would hardly take you three months to grow your Instagram fan following up to 10k and more.
Once you get enough followers, go to Social Tradia and list your account for sale.
An Instagram account with 10k – 20k followers can quickly sell for up to $500.
Create 5 – 10 accounts and optimize them simultaneously with an Instagram automation tool. Learn about them here.
5. Domain/Website Flipping business
Similar to the Instagram flipping business, here you will be trading domain names. In this online business model, you just need to purchase a cheap and unique domain name and then resale it for higher prices.
However, to get the maximum profits for your domain name, you need to do some research first about what kind of domain sells well.
You’d better visit some domain marketplaces where you can check out the rate of a different unique name. Like here, I went to afternic.com
As you can see, how well these simple domains are listed for such amazing prices. You never know the domain name you have might be unique enough to earn you thousands of dollars.
Marijuana.com was sold for $4.2 million. That’s crazy!
How to Start
First, you need to keep to date with the trends, and if there is slightly a chance of anything getting viral, then be the first mover and grab the opportunity of earning thousands of dollars.
For example: After the outbreak of COVID-19, I went GoDaddy to see the variety of domains containing “corona” in the domain.
The different variations of “corona” in the domain names are selling amazingly well.
Use Google trends to check the popularity of the domain.
Keep checking expireddomains.net; here, you can check a bunch of domain ideas and also those domains whose owners forget to renew them so you might get lucky to get some prominent domain names here.
Check the value of your domain on Namebio, you will get the complete valuation report for free. Make sure to use an easy phrase and avoid using a hyphen.
Once you come up with a name, check its availability, and then it in the domain marketplace.
Here are some of the top marketplaces to sell your website and domain:
6. Start an Affiliate Business/ Become an Affiliate Marketer
If you like the idea of starting a niche-specific website and start earning passive income, then you are going to love starting an affiliate business.
But, for those who have no idea about affiliate marketing here is a brief introduction.
Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.
Promote someone else product on your platform and earn a commission.
It’s not a lot different from a niche website business. Still, you can earn an affiliate commission from other platforms also then just a website, such as Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, Emails, etc.
First, you need to create a platform to generate a loyal fan following and BUILD YOUR AUTHORITY in any particular niche.
It can be either your website visitors, Instagram page, or personal profile. You need some kind of following who trust your platform.
The most important feature of becoming a successful affiliate marketer is to build a reliable platform.
For example, if you just teach online about making apps or designing, then you can earn by suggesting tools or services to pupils, such as Domain Hosting, SEO Tools, Apps, etc.
If people are watching your content, then you can easily convince them to buy from your medium.
Look at this online Shopify mentor.
In this video, he is teaching how to set up a Shopify store so the people who are learning from his platform would most likely sign up for Shopify from the link he mentioned in the description.
Similarly, if you are a good footballer or do freestyle, then you can create a proper football fan following on your Instagram/Facebook profile or create a dedicated football page and sell affiliate products related to soccer.
So, you only need to build an authority in a particular field to become an affiliate marketer.
Here I am mentioning some of the resources from where you can affiliate links
The formula is simple – Make your authority, grow your audience, and become an affiliate marketer!
7. Start an Amazon FBA Business
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a service that allows you to start an online store on Amazon without having any trouble with packaging and shipping.
In this service, the seller only needs to create an Amazon seller account, upload the product to Amazon and send the items to the Amazon warehouse.
How does it work?
When a buyer purchases the product, Amazon takes the product from its warehouse, packs it, send it to the customer’s address as well as provide the customer services including refunds and returns.
Amazon FBA is an excellent opportunity to turn your bedroom into an online business empire by making Amazon your partner.
You just need a reliable supplier to source your product for that there are the number of suppliers websites where you can find a wholesaler who will send the products directly to Amazon warehouse.
All you need is to list the product on your Amazon store and let Amazon do the rest of the work. (Learn How to Become an Amazon Seller).
However, I would recommend you to first order the product on your address, validate them first, then ship them to Amazon warehouse.
List of the websites to find suppliers for your Amazon FBA business
To figure out what products sell best on Amazon and validate the suppliers, I would highly recommend getting Jungle Scout – It is an Amazon product research tool. You perform complete research about who your competitors are and how you can outrank them easily.
8. Sell Course and eBooks (Amazon KDP)
If you think that you have a flair for writing that can help you to make a living out of it but do not know where to start or do not want to get into the hassle of publishing and marketing, then you should definitely look into Amazon Kindle Self-Publishing service.
With Amazon KDP, you can sell your book comprehensively and generate a good income from it.
If you do not believe me, then look at one of the Amazon KDP business on Empire Flippers
This KDP book account has been generating a monthly of $33k revenue with 50 eBooks and 40 hardcopy books. And the best part is that this business was only started three years ago in January 2017.
Some Popular Genres on KDP
- Business & Investments
- Literature & Fiction
- Mystery & Thrillers
- Teens & Adults
Tip: If you start generating a hundred sales within 7-10 days, then Amazon will start promoting the book for you.
So, If you think you are good at the genre mentioned above or an expert in any particular field like website building or programming, then you can easily self-publish your book with Amazon KDP.
However, generate hundreds of sales is easier said than done. You need to adopt some promotional strategies. So here are a few practices that you need to adopt
- Join Relevant Communities and Validate Your Ideas
Publish a summary or blueprint on your eBook on related groups to get the idea. You can find multiple groups on Reddit, Quora, and Facebook, where you can share your opinion and get honest feedback on your story idea.
- Create Your Audience
You need to plant the seeds first to get the fruit. Create an audience on Instagram and make yourself an authority before publishing your first book on different relevant communities.
For example, if you want to write a book sci-fi, you need to be active on particular platforms related to sci-fi, so when you publish your book, people consider you as an authority.
- Become Guest Writer on Multiple Website
When you are about to launch your book, you’d better outreaching to several websites relevant to the topic of your book niche. By doing this, you can build your authority and engage the customer from other platforms and introduced them to your books.
- Strategy for Launching Book
Run a promotional campaign of $1 on social media platforms and promotional websites like Buck Books.
Post excerpt of your books on Facebook communities and subreddits plus offer them exclusive discounts like add coupon code “Subreddit name” and get a 50% discount.
Once Amazon starts pushing your books, then subtly increase the book price.
To publish Your book:
Sign up to kdp.Amazon.com. You can also log in with your Amazon account, then under “Create a New Title,” select “Kindle eBook.”
Check out this page, and you will find everything regarding how to start an Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing Business.
9. Sell Your Art on Etsy
Etsy is the most sought-after ecommerce marketplace to sell vintage and handmade items. It is one best online platform for artisans to earn big bucks easily from this platform.
So, if you think that you are good at creating original items or know any craft supplier where you can source eccentric products, then you can easily start an online business by selling on Etsy.
Tips: The Etsy audience is usually looking for one-of-kind items. The product must show some creative elements that could not be found anywhere else.
Conventional products would not be sell on that frequency, as they will on Amazon or eBay.
You can sell the art by printing on any products such as wall art, t-shirts, phone cases, pillow covers, curtains, posters, canvas painting, etc.
If you make digital designs, art, or DIY products such as jewelry, candles, etc. then you can make a vast fortune on Etsy.
The only requirement is that your products must be unique and creative to capture the attention of the audience.
To understand what to sell on Etsy, Check out this post.
Learn How to Sell on Etsy.
10. Become a Transcriber/Translator (For Bilingual)
If you are fluent in any other language apart from English, then you can easily make a significant amount of money by becoming an online transcriber and translator.
Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, Japanese, German, French, and Russian are some of the most common languages online.
If you know any of these languages, as mentioned earlier, then you can easily make thousands of dollars monthly from this online business idea. According to Glassdoor, a Chinese translator makes 51K – 130k per year.
Thousands of websites look out for translator to convert English website into any native language and vice versa.
How to Start
I would recommend starting a website to give your business a professional look. You need to worry about SEO and Google ranking. This is just to prove your authority to your client.
To make a website for your business, I would recommend making it on Wix, its user-friendly.
It would be great if you manage to gather people from different native languages and create a team like this translation website Speakt.
Then, make yourself available on each of every job opportunity site and freelance platforms where you can find short term and long-term assignments.
For Example: On Upwork, I just write a translator and more than 6000 translation jobs.
You can still start this business even if you do not know any other language than English. I would recommend getting multiple writers in your contact and starting hunting for jobs on these platforms to take the task to give to your writer and earn a commission as an intermediary.
11. Start an Online Agency (Writing, Designing & Developing Services)
If you have any skills or working as a 9 to 5 job as a content writer, graphic designer, or web developer, then you can easily start your agency to provide these services.
Although It has become quite a cliché online business idea, it still has a lot of potential for consideration.
Note: This business idea is ideal for anyone with freelance experience or someone with a PR in respective industries to increase your clientele quickly.
Graphic designing, website development, and writing is a kind of field that work side by side.
For example, if a client comes to your platform for website development or infographics, you will require a content writer to fill up the words.
So, I would recommend offering all these services if you are planning to start an online agency.
How to Start
• Gather multiple experts from different departments, mainly content writers, graphic designers, and website developers. Make the contract of outsourcing and discuss the rate on an hourly basis.
• Make a website to look professional and display the services of your agency.
Something like this:
To get work, check out freelance platforms and aim to bid on long-term projects where multiple hiring is required.
Also, you check out yellow pages and get your clients through email outreach and cold calling.
To learn in-depth about setting up an agency, check out this guide.
12. Become a Virtual Assistant
It is not mainly an online business, but it is one of the trending online jobs right now that cannot be ignored.
Virtual assistant jobs are one of the common and easy to do tasks that most companies prefer to outsource rather than hiring a full-time employee.
If you think of yourself as an organized person who just wants to earn money online, then a VA job is the best option for you.
The most business owner who starts a business requires doing many tasks, including social media manager, cold calling, writing product description, listing products online, etc.
You must have the idea now that a VA helps the business owner and entrepreneur for their personal as well as professional work.
All you need is a steady Wi-Fi connection and a laptop.
Best Platforms to Get a Virtual Assitant Work
The client usually interacts with Skype calls and emails, so you must be fluent in using these communication tools. The field of work and your experience will determine how much you can earn from your services.
13. Sell Online Courses on Udemy
In case you have not heard of Udemy – It is an online learning platform where more than 50 million students are registered to learn different fields.
You can find a course on anything (literally) from sketching to AI learning.
If you think you are experienced in any particular field and believe that you could create a proper video lecture on that topic from A-Z, then you should consider selling courses on Udemy.
I would highly recommend to check out the success story of Nick Walter, an iOS Developer who made $66,533 in just 30 days by just selling one course on Udemy.
If a first-timer 25-year old iOS developer can make this much money, so can you.
Before publishing a course, you’d better check the Udemy Course Quality Checklist.
As an instructor, you can sign up for free, upload the course, and earn revenue. Check out the instructor’s revenue share.
You just need to click here to upload your course for students to purchase.
Check out this FAQ page to understand all about becoming an Udemy instructor.
14. Start App Development
You never know that your simple idea can easily convert into a multi-million dollar online business.
The mobile game Flappy Bird was made in May 2013. By January 2014, it has been downloaded more than 50 million times and earning $50,000 per day in ads revenue.
In the Coronavirus Pandemic, the demand for the HouseParty App has seen an unprecedented boost.
So, if you know about app development, then start making it right away.
It is not necessary to have to be a mobile app. You can create WordPress plug-inns, Shopify Apps, or Website themes. It is one of the most lucrative ways to earn passive income.
Check out this guide to start a Mobile App Development Business.
15. Start a Private Label Product Business
A private label product is one of the most sought after business model of ecommerce entrepreneur to start their branded product.
What is Private Label Products?
A Private Label Product selling is selling third party manufacturer product under your brand name. In this model, you contact the manufacturer and explain the details of the product that you want to sell.
Then the manufacturer creates the product, pack it as per your preference and deliver it to your store so you can retail it as your product.
You can also start this business in the dropshipping model, where you need to give your branding info to the suppliers, and they will directly deliver to your customers with your branding.
How to Start Private Label Products Business
A private label is a form of dropshipping business, so it is more or less similar to start an ecommerce store.
• Choose a niche/category (cosmetics, clothing line, etc.)
• Setup an Online store (Shopify plan $29/months Recommended)
• Find a Supplier. (Check out the list of suppliers)
• Validate the product.
• Publish the product in the online store.
• Promote it via Facebook and Instagram marketing.
To understand how to start a Private Label Business, Check out this guide.
If you made it so far, then I can assume that you must have made up your mind to get started with any one of these online business ideas.
I can assure you that if you take any of these online business ideas and start working by following the resources mentioned with them, then you would not need any other guidance to build an online business empire.
In case you have any queries or any other online business idea that you consider worth mentioning, then do tell in the comments below. If you want to get more online business ideas, then feel free to join our 5000+ aspiring entrepreneurs community.